Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Good Old Days: December 26, 2019


December 26, 2019

125 years ago

The Commoner

Dec. 28, 1894

A warrant for the arrest of A. C. Voorhies, a farmer living near Garfield, on a charge of cattle stealing was issued from Justice of the Peace Zimmerman's court on Wednesday evening. Friends of Mr. Voorhies in this city declare the whole matter to be due to mistaken identity of the beast alleged to have been stolen. It appears that Joseph Unger, a farmer living between Colfax and Palouse missed a roan cow on Sunday last, and despite the fact that he searched for miles around, he failed to discover the animal. On Wednesday Unger came to Colfax and learned that William Lawson of the City meat market, had purchased an animal on Monday last that resembled the beast that was missing. The bovine was slaughtered Wednesday morning, and Unger was shown the hide and declared that it was that of his missing cow. The head of the slaughtered beast, he said, tallied with that of the one he was looking for. Unger's cow was branded “45” on one hip, and he declares that he can trace that brand on the hide. Others who inspected the hide are not certain as to the brand.

Mr. Lawson informed Unger that the animal had been purchased from A. C. Voorhies, a farmer. Upon this information, Unger swore out a warrant for Voorhies arrest. The hip brand will be cut out, and will play an important part in the case. Mr. Voorhies may have a story to tell that will clear his name, and, as was observed at the commencement of this article, Mr. Unger may possibly be mistaken in his identification.


True to expressed intention and commendable motives, the Elk Drugstore this week presented to the Ladies' Benevolent Society of Colfax a neat little purse of $18.40 to be used for charitable purposes. Frank J. Stone, the genial proprietor of the Elk Drugstore, had promised to give 25 percent of his receipts of Saturday, Dec. 22, to the cause of charity, thus sharing his profits with the deserving poor. The amount turned over to the ladies represented one-fourth of the receipts for that day. The money will be used, as far as it will go, in furnishing food and clothing to the needy.

100 years ago

The Colfax Commoner

Dec. 26, 1919

The Christmas shoppers invaded the city from all sections of the county this week and the older businessmen of the city pronounce the crowd of shoppers to be the largest number that have visited the city in several years.

Every train arriving at Colfax carried a large number of shoppers, and Tuesday and Wednesday were the busiest days in this city for the trade people that has been witnessed in many years.

Wednesday afternoon, it was impossible to wait on the many shoppers and the stores became so crowded that many patrons began to wait on themselves. They selected what they wanted and went to the clerk to be checked. The crowd of late shoppers were good natured and before the stores closed Christmas Eve there were few Christmas goods left to choose from.


Santa Claus, in a real reindeer sleigh, visited Colfax Wednesday afternoon and distributed presents to five hundred children. Every child was invited and everyone received a two pound bag of candy and nuts. It was one of the most successful Christmas trees that has been held in the city for many years and the event is to become a permanent affair of this lodge.

Before the presents were distributed a splendid program was rendered by the little guests of the lodge. The tree was set up in the dining room of the temple and willing workers had prepared several hundred bags for distribution before the hour arrived. The number was insufficient to meet the demand and more bags of candy and nuts had to be provided to satisfy the needs of the five hundred visitors.


Superintendent of schools, J. O. Mattoon, has notified the members of the school board that more classrooms must be provided if the city is to continue to maintain its place as one of the leading high school centers of the state.

This year, the school is hampered for lack of classrooms. The high school is too small to provide additional room and the city superintendent calls the attention of the board to the necessity of providing additional quarters at once.

Judge J. N. Pickrell says the district is in no condition to build at this time. The district has on hand $30,000 which was voted to build a high school gymnasium and library. This money is available and can be used at any time, but there is not sufficient funds to erect such a building as the high school needs at this time. This was the statement made to a body of business men, who were called together at the K. of P. hall Monday afternoon by R. F. Bigelow, president of the commercial club.

75 years ago

The Colfax Gazette-Commoner

Dec. 22, 1944

Three 50-foot vacant lots, in the middle of the block on the west side of Mill street between Wall and Upton, have been purchased by John A. Scholz, Steptoe farmer, from L. L. Bruning and John Bloom estate, each of whom owned half of the property. The consideration was $3,200. Mr. Scholz was reported to have made the purchase as an investment, planning to build at some future time. For many years a large livery stable was located there, among the operators being William Pointer and George W. Palmer. The building was destroyed by fire more than 25 years ago and later the lots were used for an outdoor dance floor.


Under a new OPA program, a central truck tire inspection station has been set up by the Colfax board at Cliff's battery station, with Cliff Lloyd as central inspector.

Effective immediately, no certificates for truck tire have been inspected by both local and central inspectors. This will include all pickups and other commercial vehicles.

All tires must be demounted by the first inspector and delivered by him to Mr. Lloyd. The application should be complete, giving full information as to why the tire has failed and the reason for condemning it.

50 years ago

The Colfax Gazette

Dec. 25, 1969

A Colfax solider in Vietnam may hitch a ride with the Bob Hope show when it tours the war zone north of Saigon this week. Spe. 4 Dennis Merry was sure enough of his chances to pass up a rest leave to Sydney, Australia.

“It isn't every day I get to fly a bunch of actors, not to mention all the women, around the country,” Merry said in a Dec. 17 letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Merle Merry. “Needless to say, I'm really excited.”

Merry explained his company had been picked to fly the Hope troupe around the war area north of Saigon because they fly three “super powerful” Chinook Super C helicopters which are “really built.” The Colfax solider is stationed with company B of the 101st Airmobile division at Camp Eagle, located north of DaNang. He serves as crew chief on the helicopters.


Postal patrons are spreading out their mailing more than usual, to the great satisfaction of the post office department, Postmaster Kenneth McNeilly said this week.

“We seem to have about the same volume of mail as we did a year ago but it's been spread out more, making it easier to handle,” he said.

Monday was the heaviest day for outgoing mail to date, and the postmaster anticipates a peak in incoming mail this weekend. Total receipts of the local office are off slightly to date.

No vacation help has been added at the post office this year, officials deciding that it would be less costly to pay present help overtime rather than train temporary help for the holiday season, McNeilly said.

The post office remained open last Saturday to accommodate shoppers, but will be closed Saturday of this week.

25 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

Dec. 29, 1994

A few granite blocks from the front of the Binnard building could remain on the Main Street scene in Colfax as decorations for a small park. The blocks have been reserved by U.S. Bank and plans for the park will be presented for corporate approval early this year.

David Cavanaugh, assistant vice president at the bank in Seattle, said he hopes the blocks would provide some reminder of the building on the site. Cavanaugh heads corporate real estate maintenance for the bank.

Plan for a Binnard park date back to the early days of the controversy of whether or not Binnard Building should be razed. Officials at what was then Old National Bank discussed the possibility of leaving some type of park at the scene.

10 years ago

Whitman County Gazette

Dec. 24, 2009

Brought more than a century ago from the hills of Tennessee, a lone Christmas Cactus has spread from home to home throughout the Pleasant Valley.

Steve Humphreys said his Grandmother Suzie Crumbaker brought the cactus west with her when when their family settled between Colfax and Steptoe in the late 19th Century.

She took cuttings off the cactus one year and shared with all those in her social circle.

“That's the way the story goes, anyhow,” he said. “Jill Suess has a picture of all these women together, and they all got a cutting off Grandma Suzie's Christmas Cactus.”

Humphreys continued the tradition this year, selling 11 cuttings off the plant this year. That cutting, though, gave the plant new life, causing a growth spurt that has Humphreys concerned.


Four Palouse residents are lobbying State Rep. Susan Fagan of Pullman to propose a new state law on fees for public record requests.

The request derives from a stream of requests from citizens Steve McGehee and Jim Farr which has caused city staffers at Palouse to work extra hours.

The Palouse group believes Palouse and other towns could have more protection if the state produces a law allowing cities a way to charge for time spent responding to the requests.

“It's something that would help not only the city of Palouse, but also other cities in the state of Washington,” said Connie Newman, who is leading the group of citizens.


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